Title

An Olympic Antidoping Champion

Document Type

Letter to the Editor

Journal Title

New York Times

Publication Date

6-16-2016

Abstract

The International Olympic Committee recently announced that 10 refugee athletes from troubled or war-torn nations would be allowed to compete in the summer Olympic Games. The committee believes that the group, officially known as the Refugee Olympic Team, will serve as a “symbol of hope” in Rio de Janeiro.

The I.O.C.’s action to field a refugee team is an example of the Games’ spirit at its best — using sport to transcend politics and promote human dignity. The decision also comes at a crucial moment when the Olympic movement’s fundamental values seem under attack. Few issues exemplify the crisis more than the allegations of state-supported doping in Russia.

For this reason, the International Olympic Committee and the International Association of Athletics Federations must use their authority to grant a similar special eligibility status to another athlete. In this competitor’s case, it is not because she has been forced to flee a conflict zone, but because her moral actions have helped to preserve the integrity of the Olympic movement itself.